easy diy: canvas drop cloth tablecloth

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I love the idea of using drop cloths in place of linen. Not only because I of the texture and color, but because fabric has become ridiculously expensive. To make a Provencal-inspired tablecloth, I bought a $9 canvas drop cloth. The painter’s tape and fabric paint I already had, I just need to mix to get a deeper red. You’ll also need a small tape measure and because the canvas resists moisture, a wallpaper tool or other straight edge to smooth down the tape as you paint. (You can see the tape starting to pop up in the first picture. As long as you work in sections and smooth down first, you shouldn’t get any bleed.) Once you measure out your lines, it goes quick. And since the ends are hemmed, I only needed to finish the edge I had to cut. All totaled? $9 for the cloth and about an hour of my time, which included fighting with the sewing machine. After the paint sets for three days, I’ll be able to back and iron and call the project truly done.

Other creative tablecloth ideas?
• Paint a train track down the middle and line up toy trains for a kid’s party.
• For a casual outdoor wedding or wedding shower, drape cloths over the front of a gift table, so that it touches the ground. In script, have the word “gifts” painted on the front.
• For a family reunion, arm everyone with a Sharpie and ask them to sign and write their name and add important dates.
• For Thanksgiving, have everyone write what they are thankful for on the cloth.

If you give this idea a go, remember to put a piece of cardboard or towel under your line. I found out just in time that the paint goes through. Other ideas? Let’s hear them. Add to comments. — Sarah L.

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brilliant discovery: schoolhouse electric

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There’s something very awesome about living in the city with what I have been told is the highest concentration of wooden bungalows in the U.S. — Portland, Oregon. Not only are you inspired by gorgeous architecture everywhere you turn, but you also have the luxury of having not one, but two, shops specializing in handcrafted period light fixtures and shades. The one everyone thinks of, and one we’ve highlighted here numerous times, is, of course, Rejuvenation. So, when shopping for period-authentic lighting for the basement remodel of our own wooden bungalow, I was wide-eyed when a Google seplace for schoolhouse lights turned up a newer and lesser known Portland-based gem: Schoolhouse Electric Co. I drove down to the Portland showroom the next day and was downright giddy about my discovery. The company was founded several years ago after owner Brian Faherty found a treasure trove of original cast-iron moulds in an upstate New York warehouse. What I love most about Schoolhouse, though, is how they’ve added a modern, artistic approach to their timeless designs, such as their artist series collection featuring Portland artist Yellena James. I am now the proud owner of three of these limited edition shades, and they’ve really added a wow factor to our basement. Schoolhouse Electric has showrooms in Portland and Tribeca, New York, plus nationwide shipping. Now you just need an excuse to go buy a new light! –Ginny F.

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kinda genius: painted foam core bookcase inserts

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After we had built-in bookcases added to our living room, I had every intention of painting the backs. A year later, they’re still white. I can’t bring myself to decide on a color (green? yellow?) and given the number of shelves, I want to get it right the first time. I seplaceed for papers that I could put up but no go. Then I stumbled across the blog Recently. Cut foam core to size, then paint and insert. Since it’s thicker than paper, it stays in place. No stickie tape or nothin’. If you’re in an apartment, have a stained piece you don’t want to paint, or just can’t make up your mind, like me, it seems like a perfect solution. — Sarah L.

Photo credit: Recentlytheblog.blogspot.com

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From our partners

macra-mazing: vintage macrame plant hangers

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I’ve been obsessed with macrame for a few years now, ever since I lucked into two vintage macrame lawn chairs (FOR FREE!). There is something about macrame that screams 1970’s to me — in a good way — like reruns of “Three’s Company”. Maybe I’ve always wanted to be Mrs. Roper… So now, you’ll find me thrifin’ in a floral caftan (not really), scouring the aisles for little pieces of fiber-woven nostalgia, notably plant hangers. I scored the lovely jute number you see in the photo for 3 dollars, bagged with a larger unfinished hanger. Thinking that it may be a good source, I seplaceed Etsy for more and found quite a few lovely examples, like this and this. But honestly, I had no idea that vintage plant hangers would fetch $20+, so I guess the next step would be learning the craft. This vintage leaflet looks like a good resource: and for the bargain price of $3.25. Have you ever worked with macrame? Any books or tricks of the trade you can share? — Megan B.

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